36.

Thirty-six.

In math, it’s a semiperfect number, meaning it’s equal to the sum of all, or some of its proper divisors (nerd alert!).

It’s triangular, square, and even.

It’s divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18. It’s the sum of two twin prime numbers (17 + 19).

It’s a day and a half.

It’s the number of possible outcomes (not summed) in the roll of two distinct dice.

It’s the number of inches in a yard.

In the UK, a standard beer barrel is 36 UK gallons.

(Source, Wikipedia)

For those who know me well, you know how obsessed I am with numbers, and how significant they are in how I think and how my memory works. Knowing how round and symmetrical 36 was in mathematical terms has made me very excited about 36.  Numbers, music, and colors are the things that I believe help trigger my long-term memories. I don’t have an Eidetic memory as many believe ( a total recall memory – I can’t totally recall everything, but a very large majority of my memories).  I like sequence, order, and harmony. It keeps me at peace. I also like the Oxford comma.

In fact, I’ve been very excited to be in my 30s. When I was 29, I freaked the fudge out over turning 30. I really don’t know why, but I did. I think it was that it was supposed to be some sort of magical milestone (for what, I’m still not quite sure). I still celebrated in style with 4 parties with all of my friends. It was fantastic. It still is.

But so much in my life has changed since then. SO much. Shortly after I turned 30, I met Brian, and right after I turned 31 we moved in together. We’ll be in our place 5 years in less than 2 weeks. I can’t even believe it. I love who I’ve become since turning 30. I married Brian! I love who I have in my life. As I’ve gotten older, friends from my past have re-entered my life and have made my life so much brighter. Facebook has been a great catalyst to grow friendships that had faded over time (for really no other reason than just time, space, and circumstance). My sister got married to a truly fantastic guy, and now they have two BEAUTIFUL little girls.

On the other side, I’ve had my fair share of challenges and heartache since turning 30. I lost my father-in-law, my dad had had some challenges with his heart (and is a damn lucky guy to be doing well right now!), and some friendships that I once held very dear are no longer. And I’m at peace with it all. Truly. I have no choice. Well, I do. I can choose to let it get me down and focus on the negative, and focus on the hurt. Or I can take that hurt and channel it into positive, productive things. And while my life is far from perfect, I am truly at peace in my soul. And I am happy. Nobody can take that away from me. Ever.

In the spirit of Brian’s birthday bucket list (yes, read it! cheer him on!), I’ve decided to create my own. Some of the items may come off as “Really, Elena? That doesn’t seem like a bucket-list item.” Well, make your own damn list then! Too often we get caught up in life and miss out on the SIMPLEST opportunities. If you write it down, and commit, you can achieve the simplest, or greatest, of goal.

So, here we are. Elena’s 36 in 36. Keep checking back to see how I’m doing, and also to see how Brian is doing!

Thank you all for the lovely birthday wishes. They mean a lot. Cheers.

Elena’s 36 in 36

  1. Attend a late-night TV Show taping TWO! At Midnight, March, Los Angeles; Jimmy Fallon, 4.11.14 NYC
  2. Go to at least 2 Broadway shows
  3. Take a double-decker bus tour in NYC We scrapped this. None of the tours were interesting.
  4. Go back to Europe IRELAND
  5. Visit another state in the US that I’ve never been to before
  6. Run a 5k
  7. Lose 20% of my body weight
  8. Have a “girls day” with my mom, sister, and nieces
  9. Make my own wine
  10. Visit at least 3 wineries
  11. Read 20 books
  12. Vacation with friends
  13. Blog at least 3 times per month
  14. Visit another Top Chef Restaurant
  15. Re-Visit 2 of my “top 5” restaurants
  16. Enter a photography contest
  17. Go to at least 1 concert with my friends
  18. Start taking German lessons again
  19. Eat at a Michelin Star restaurant (or at a restaurant where the chef has a Michelin Star)
  20. Attend a talk show taping
  21. Attend a comedy show
  22. Finish scrapbooking all of my vacations since our wedding (there are 7 total)
  23. Take a photography class
  24. Take a pastry/dessert cooking class
  25. Make one of Brian’s wishes come true
  26. Raise enough money to fund the first 3 years of Age’s scholarship
  27. Organize a Gamma Sig reunion
  28. Attend a food festival Food Network Food & Wine Festival, NYC, 10/19/13
  29. Learn about my family history (both Runfolo & Tzerefos)
  30. Purchase something extravagant and unnecessary
  31. Donate my hair
  32. Go to a baseball game Suite life at a Yankees Game (thanks, work!)
  33. Treat my parents to something extravagant
  34. Surprise my sister & brother-in-law
  35. Take my mom to a museum in NYC
  36. Conquer a fear
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